9 top tips for a road trip with friends in Tasmania
Friends don’t let friends miss a road trip in Tasmania. Grab the crew for a whole lot of fun and feasting in the island state.
Surrounded by 125 kilometres of custom-built trails scribbled through rainforest and bush, the former tin-mining town of Derby is mountain-biking magic. Plummet off the Blue Tier through dense forest to Weldborough and beyond, or descend the Tier’s other side on the 42-kilometre Bay of Fires Trail, finishing on the cloud-white sands of Swimcart Beach. Finish the day with a restorative session at the Floating Sauna Lake Derby, alternating between the heat of the sauna and plunges in the chilly water – a bake and a lake.
Boots on Bruny
Take the car ferry to Bruny Island for superb scenery and walks, whether heading past a beachside arch of rock at Mars Bluff on the way to Cape Queen Elizabeth, or wandering the wild shore of Cloudy Bay to East Cloudy Head. Then satisfy the resulting appetite and thirst at Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co, Get Shucked oyster farm, Bruny Island Premium Wines and the Bruny Island House of Whisky.
In the spirits
Tasmania’s whiskies are world-beaters – in recent years they’ve been named world’s best single malt and world’s best single cask single malt. Appoint your designated driver and follow the Tasmanian Whisky Trail to more than 14 distilleries, including Shene Distillery, a grand 1819 colonial estate where you can craft your own single malt. Gin lovers should head to Southern Wild Distillery, the Devonport maker of premium Dasher + Fisher gins.
Set out by car and foot to discover some of Tasmania’s wildest natural scenes. Ferry across to Maria Island National Park to climb Bishop and Clerk – bristling dolerite towers at the island’s northern tip – or to stroll between the contrasting coastal wonders of the Fossil Cliffs and the Painted Cliffs. A former logging tramway near Rosebery on the west coast leads to the state’s tallest waterfall: 104-metre Montezuma Falls. Nearby, stride out on a series of rainforest walks from Corinna Wilderness Experience in the takayna/Tarkine – the short Huon Pine Walk will introduce you to Tasmania’s most cherished tree species, while the Savage River Walk heads to Australia’s furthest inland shipwreck.
Tour the Tamar
The Tamar Valley Wine Trail connects more than 30 cellar doors through Tasmania’s oldest and largest wine region. Appoint your designated driver and head to Pipers River for bubbles at the likes of Jansz Tasmania, Clover Hill Wines and Delamere Vineyard, and call ahead to Glendale Vineyard, with its cellar door inside an old apple shed, to arrange a picnic among the vines or on the shores of its lake.
With four courses that have been rated among the top 10 in Australia, Tasmania is prime territory for a round of golf. Barnbougle combines two stunning, dune-top links courses – Lost Farm and The Dunes – plus a new 14-hole short course on a potato farm in the island’s north east, with a luxury lodge, restaurant, bars and day spa. Just an hour’s drive north of Hobart, Ratho Farm is Australia’s oldest golf course, and the oldest remaining outside Scotland, with accommodation sprinkled among convict-era farm buildings.
These days the Huon Valley’s orchards turn out as much cider as eating apples. Settle in for a session in the cider garden at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed and keep an eye out along the way for roadside stalls selling local produce, including those apples. The Little Black Fridge is a roadside stall in Geeveston selling freshly baked goods.
Lunches with a difference
Forage and then feast with Sirocco South, harvesting the likes of seasonal wild asparagus, mushrooms and saltbush, which are then teamed with Tasmanian meat and seafood for a long-table outdoor lunch. A foraged lunch is also the reward after a hunt for rare black truffles with Doug the truffle dog at Tasmanian Truffles. And prep in style at the cooking school at beautiful Red Feather Inn.
Welcome to adventure island. Squirm through a canyon in the shadow of Cradle Mountain with Cradle Mountain Canyons. Take the challenge of the world’s highest commercial abseil from the Gordon Dam with Aardvark Adventures. Kayak across Coles Bay to the foot of the Hazards with Freycinet Adventures. And slow things down as you paddle in search of platypuses in the River Derwent with Tassie Bound.